Lottery winner denies friends in court

March 13, 2012 at 1:49 PM

ELIZABETH, N.J., March 13 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man, sued for refusing to split a $77 million prize with members of his lottery pool, denied responsibility to inform them of his win.

In Union County Court Monday, Americo Lopes testified he was "just a co-worker" of the men with whom he worked with for more than 10 years at an Elizabeth, N.J., construction company, and that he "did not have to tell them" the lottery ticket bought with pooled money was a loser but one allegedly purchased with Lopes' own money won the jackpot.

The five plaintiffs are suing him for $4 million each.

The group paid for lottery tickets, purchased by Lopes, twice a week for the past five years, pooling $12 each time for twelve chances to win the Mega Millions lottery, the plaintiffs testified.

The money for the winning ticket of November 10, 2009 came from the pooled funds, they insisted in court.

"You, for one, did not believe you were friends with any of these individuals?" plaintiff attorney Rubin Sinins asked Lopes in regard to Lopes' withholding news of winning the jackpot.

Lopes said in court he was not, although he referred to them as "friends" in a pretrial deposition, the New York Post reported Tuesday..

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